CMP 16.09

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Brokers debate the merits CMP 16.08 cover lines of face-to-face versus <main line> digital interaction 5-Star Awards: Mortgage Products <secondary lines> LEVELLING UP Steps all brokers should take before moving into commercial lending

MPAMAG.COM/CA ISSUE 16.09 | $12.95


Could it come to Canada – and what would it mean for the broker channel?


What brokers need to know as more consumers opt to bypass the banks


How the mortgage industry can tackle a pervasive culture problem


Steps all brokers shoul take before moving into commercial sphere


CMP ranks 38 of Canada’s best brokerages

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ISSUE 16.09





Which brokerages managed to overcome the challenges of the pandemic and a frenzied market to earn a place among Canada’s best?

Opportunity is often simply a matter of seeing it first. With over $3 billion under administration and ready for immediate deployment, Romspen is a boutique non-bank mortgage lender specializing in commercial real estate in Canada and the US. For your financing of $10 million to $400 million we bring speed, agility, and a commitment to complex execution you will not find in larger institutions.

Blake Cassidy or Pierre Leonard | 800 494 0389 |


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License # 10172



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ISSUE 16.09

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UPFRONT 04 Editorial

Why referral partners are crucial in an ever-changing market


06 Statistics

Key data that should be on your radar this month

10 Bank update





Should the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions mean an immediate return to in-person interaction, or is virtual still the way to go?



Radius Financial CEO Ron Swift on where the broker channel has been – and where it’s likely headed in the future

18 2

What a move to an open banking system could mean for mortgage brokers

16 Opinion

How brokers can work with lawyers to make the closing process easier

FEATURES Alta West Capital offers an inside look at its recent expansion



12 Technology update

34 In growth mode

Equitable Bank offers a host of resources for brokers who are looking to make the leap to the commercial side


Canada’s Big Five are requiring employees to be vaccinated – will the broker channel follow their lead?


Homewise CEO Jesse Abrams on the benefits of running a digitalfirst brokerage

38 An overlooked revenue source Why brokers who aren’t mining their database for refinances are missing out

40 Database marketing made simple

A new tool in Velocity offers brokers a way to find untapped business

42 A new journey

MERIX Financial founder and CEO Boris Bozic lifts the lid on his company’s recent acquisition


PEOPLE 48 Other life

Breaking a sweat with brokerage CEO and fitness enthusiast Trevor Hansen



‘Free’ is the key word for marketing and tech at CENTUM – in terms of both cost and choice


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A broker’s best friend


s Canada continues its gradual reopening after months of COVID-19 restrictions, the day-to-day lives of many mortgage professionals have changed. The ability to resume face-to-face interactions with colleagues and clients alike means that brokers are no longer required to conduct all business through virtual meetings, remote signings and work-fromhome arrangements. Some brokers have jumped at the opportunity to get out and meet their clients in person, establishing a personal touch that many argue simply isn’t possible over a phone or video call. Others remain firm believers in the efficiency of the digital approach brought about by the pandemic. Whichever you prefer, it’s important to ensure that your choice allows you to communicate effectively with your clients and continue providing unparalleled expert advice and guidance – the most valuable assets that brokers can bring to prospective homebuyers.

By simply picking up the phone and speaking with referral partners, brokers can get an inside view on what’s in store for the Canadian mortgage market Brokers also have another ace up their sleeve to help clients get the best possible advice in the ever-complicated mortgage market: referral partners. As a prominent industry executive pointed out to CMP, referral partners can be an invaluable source of knowledge on the future direction of the market, which can help brokers guide clients through their most significant mortgage concerns. Are your clients wondering when favourable conditions for variable-rate mortgages are going to end? Do they worry about waiting too long to enter the market as house prices continue to climb? Are they looking for a market that’s a bit less intense than the country’s priciest areas? By simply picking up the phone and speaking with referral partners – whether real estate agents, lawyers or others – brokers can get an inside view on what’s in store for the Canadian mortgage market. That proactive approach will keep brokers as informed as possible on the twists and turns coming down the tracks in the mortgage industry – and that, in turn, will take their reputation as trusted and well-informed mortgage advisors to new levels.



Managing Editor Paul Lucas

Publisher Chris Anderson

Editor Fergal McAlinden

National Account Manager Corey Bahadur

Writers Ephraim Vecina Mallory Hendry Chris Davies Copy Editor Clare Alexander

CONTRIBUTORS Jonathan Hacohen Amantha Imber

ART & PRODUCTION Designer Joenel Salvador Production Coordinators Loiza Razon Kat Guzman Client Success Coordinator Cole Dizon

Sales Executive Alan Stewart Project Coordinator Jessica Duce

CORPORATE President & CEO Tim Duce Office/Traffic Manager Marni Parker Events and Conference Manager Chris Davis Chief Information Officer Colin Chan Human Resources Manager Julia Bookallil Global CEO Mike Shipley Global COO George Walmsley



tel: 416 644 8740 • fax: 416 203 8940


Key Media Canada (Mortgage) Ltd. 317 Adelaide Street West, Suite 910 Toronto, ON M5V 1P9 tel: +1 416 644 8740 Toronto • London • Denver Sydney • Auckland • Manila • Singapore

Canadian Mortgage Professional is part of an international family of B2B publications, websites and events for the real estate and mortgage industries MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL AUSTRALIA T +61 2 8437 4772

AUSTRALIAN BROKER T +61 2 8437 4786


The team at Canadian Mortgage Professional T +61 2 8437 4708


Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as the magazine can accept no responsibility for loss


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2019 2020 2021

$24bn $21bn

$1.48 trillion

Outstanding balance of mortgages at Canadian banks as of the first quarter of 2021


Annual increase in mortgages at chartered banks

$57.5 billion

Total mortgage debt taken on by Canadians during the first five months of 2021


$18bn $15bn

A slowdown in home sales hasn’t put a damper on Canadians’ appetite for borrowing – in June, mortgage debt saw its fastest monthly and annual increases in more than a decade, according to Statistics Canada. Factors influencing this growth included investment in residential building construction and home prices that remain near record highs. StatCan also pointed out that “the new OSFI stress test for uninsured mortgages went into effect on June 1, which may have spurred additional borrowing prior to the deadline.”

$9bn $6bn $3bn $0



HOME SALES SLOW IN CANADA’S LARGEST CITIES Home sales nationwide were down 15.2% year-over-year in July, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association; even the country’s three largest markets saw a significant dip in activity. Despite this, home prices continued to rise – Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver all saw double-digit annual increases in July.



Sales activity: -29% Average home price: +17%


Sales activity: -14.9% Average home price: +12.6%


$34.3 billion


Sales activity: -11.6% Average home price: +13.8%

Total mortgage debt taken on during the same period in 2020 Sources: Bank of Canada, Statistics Canada


Sources: Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers

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Super-prime borrowers accounted for the largest growth in credit demand during the second quarter of 2021, according to TransUnion; overall, the month of June saw a 5% annual gain in overall inquiry volume.








Prime plus



Source: Statistics Canada

Subprime Source: TransUnion



More than four in five Canadians feel that the current low rate environment is driving up the prices of homes, according to a new survey from Zoocasa. In addition, more than a third said lower rates did nothing to improve affordability for homebuyers.

Canadians’ optimism toward the economy has faltered in recent weeks, according to the latest edition of the Bloomberg-Nanos Consumer Confidence Index. Nanos Research’s Nik Nanos put the decline down to “increasing speculation about a fourth wave [of COVID-19] and the scaling back of stimulus support expected this fall.”


of Canadians say low mortgage rates don’t improve housing affordability of Canadians say lower rates have impacted their decision to buy a property



August 27




of Canadians feel low mortgage rates have driven up home prices







40 30 20

Source: Zoocasa


All Canadians


Renters Source: Bloomberg-Nanos Consumer Confidence Index

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A return to normal? As pandemic restrictions have eased across Canada, a resumption of in-person meetings became possible for brokers – and some have relished that prospect, while others have opted to continue with remote arrangements

IT WAS one of the most profound disruptions to the mortgage broker profession in its history: the end to most in-person meetings with clients following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Yet as the percentage of vaccinated Canadians continues its steady upward climb, a gradual easing of restrictions has taken place throughout the summer. Now virtual arrangements are no longer the only option for mortgage professionals seeking to connect with their clients. While many in the mortgage broker community jumped at the chance to resume in-person interactions and signings with

believes that continuing with the new way of working simply makes sense, as it’s been effective since last March. “Personally, I like virtual [arrangements] because it saves time,” Ameerullah says. “It’s also acceptable to lenders, and some lenders have their own platform where they can have the clients sign the documents electronically. Especially if you’re a busy broker, you don’t want to be going out there, spending an hour or two to sit down with a client and sign documents. Meetings done with Zoom or Google Meet are just like face-to-face meetings – I kind of like that.” But David Clarke, owner of Nova Scotia-

“If you’re a busy broker, you don’t want to be going out there, spending an hour or two to sit down with a client and sign documents” Ameera Ameerullah, Canada Mortgage & Financial Group clients, others felt that the remote working revolution had served them well during the pandemic – and that there was little reason to change that model now. Ameera Ameerullah, CEO of Mississaugabased Canada Mortgage & Financial Group,


based Clarke Mortgage Group, argues that while virtual solutions might be efficient, many clients have missed the personal touch of face-to-face meetings. “I’m meeting people [increasingly] in person,” Clarke says, “and I do expect that to

progress, because I’ve found that people are missing human contact more than ever.” While some clients are comfortable going through the mortgage process without regularly speaking with their broker outside of emails, Clarke says that an increasing number of his clients are looking to correspond either face-to-face or virtually through various stages of their application. “Everyone seems to really want to talk,” he says. “Now it’s like everybody’s craving contact, so I feel like it’s going to be a lot more in-person meetings and more phone calls and Zoom meetings.” Both approaches have their merits; Clarke notes that brokers should carefully assess whether they’re establishing the required rapport with their clients through virtual arrangements, or if they’re just leaning on them because they’re more convenient. “It’s easier to do [signings] virtually, but you don’t make the connection with

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of North Americans say they feel fully productive at home


of North American workers say they have the resources to be successful at home


of North Americans are ready to say goodbye to the office forever

78 minutes

is the estimated time per day spent dealing with unwanted interruptions in the office

43 minutes

is the estimated time per day spent dealing with unwanted interruptions at home Source: Global Work-from-Home Experience Survey 2020, Global Workplace Analytics

the client, and you can never give the same experience,” he says. “So even if I can get a client to sign it remotely, I like to do a phone call or a Zoom meeting to go through it. Some question is going to come up in a

ated against COVID-19 has also emerged as a contentious issue over the summer as some of Canada’s largest financial institutions implemented mandatory vaccine policies. Canada’s Big Five banks all announced

“It’s easier to do [signings] virtually, but you don’t make the connection with the client, and you can never give the same experience” David Clarke, Clarke Mortgage Group conversation – they don’t just sign it through DocuSign and we all move on. I’m pushing to have more contact that way so it can be a better experience.” The question of whether mortgage professionals should be required to be fully vaccin-

that they would require on-site employees to be vaccinated, shortly after the government asked federally regulated industries to introduce such measures. While the mortgage industry has yet to see a significant uptick in companies

requiring that their staff receive the vaccine, the introduction of so-called vaccine passports in provinces including Ontario and British Columbia is set to impact industry events and conferences. Those new regulations include designating meeting and event venues as highrisk spaces for the spread of COVID-19, meaning that proof of vaccination will be required for entry to conference and convention centres. Canada’s minister of public services and procurement, Anita Anand, said that vaccine mandates would become increasingly common across various industries, and courts are likely to view the continuing threat of COVID-19 as a “justifiable reason” for the introduction of those measures. “This is just the beginning of what we are going to see going forward with large and small companies who want to get back to business as usual.”

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BANK UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS BMO economist says return of market frenzy unlikely

While the housing market remains strong, it’s not likely to return to the red-hot pace witnessed in the early part of this year, according to BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic. The market appears to be at a point where major rebalancing during the pandemic “has run its course,” with the shorter-term changes wrought by COVID-19 “now ebbing,” Kavcic said. “One could argue that some of those shifts went too far during the height of the madness, and we could see some undoing ahead – even if a lot of the underlying change is permanent,” he added.

National Bank reports robust third-quarter results

National Bank has reported net income of $839 million for the third quarter of 2021, a $602 million year-over-year jump that was driven by across-theboard revenue increases. Income before tax and credit loss provisions amounted to just over $1 billion, compared with $894 million a year prior. “The bank’s strong performance since the beginning of the fiscal year has continued in the third quarter of 2021,” said National Bank president and CEO Louis Vachon. “The continued improvement in the economic environment was conducive to growth, as demonstrated by a sustained increase in our revenues.”

RBC posts significant gains in net income in Q3

RBC’s financial results for the third quarter of 2021 included net income of $4.3 billion, a 34% increase from the same time last year. RBC has seen higher earnings in personal and

commercial banking, capital markets, and wealth management; it also reported improved results in insurance and investor and treasury services. “Our diversified businesses and disciplined approach to risk and cost management underpinned our results, supported by the significant investments we’ve made in technology and talent,” said president and CEO Dave McKay.

Scotiabank sees its earnings surge in the third quarter

Scotiabank has reported net income of $2.54 billion for the third quarter of 2021, a significant increase on the $1.3 billion recorded during the same quarter last year. The bank’s adjusted net income rose by 96% to $2.56 billion, while diluted earnings per share registered a 93% annual gain. Return on equity nearly doubled, from 8.3% a year ago to 15.1% in Q3 2021. Scotiabank’s Canadian banking business posted earnings of $1.08 billion, largely due to higher non-interest income and lower provisions for credit losses, along with strong asset and deposit growth.

BMO records 85% increase in net income for the third quarter

BMO Financial Group’s net income grew to $2.28 billion in the third quarter of 2021, representing an annual increase of 85%. On an adjusted basis, the bank’s net income grew by 82% yearover-year to reach $2.29 billion. BMO also reported recovery of credit losses of $70 million, versus provisions for credit losses amounting to $1.05 billion. Return on equity surged from 9.4% to 17.5%, while adjusted ROE went up from 9.6% to 17.6%. BMO CEO Darryl White attributed the bank’s strong results to “operating momentum across our diversified businesses.”

Banks take a stand on vaccines Canada’s largest banks will require on-site employees to show proof of vaccination. Could a similar edict come to the broker channel?

After the Canadian government announced that it would mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all federal public servants, the country’s Big Five banks followed suit by disclosing internally that all employees entering company premises would be required to show proof of vaccination. RBC was first off the block; a memo to staff from chief human resources officer Helena Gottschling revealed that employees would be required “to be fully vaccinated to work on our premises” as of October 31. The document cited concerns about the delta variant and evolving government guidance as the motivation behind the decision. RBC’s move was soon followed by confirmation from TD, CIBC, BMO and Scotiabank that they would be introducing similar requirements in the fall. TD chief human resources officer Kenn Lalonde notified staff that they must be fully vaccinated by November 1 to work from a company office or branch. For TD employees who have not been fully vaccinated by that date, protocols will include mandatory rapid testing, the wearing of face coverings at all times and a mandatory learning module about the benefits of vaccination. BMO’s target date for all returning employees to receive the shot was October 31; twice-weekly COVID-19 testing and “alternative health and safety measures” will be


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required for unvaccinated staff. Scotiabank didn’t name a target date for in-office employees to be vaccinated but said the mandates would begin at some point in the fall. And while CIBC plans to enforce mandatory vaccines for employees by October 31, it also noted that it would take employees’ “local circumstances” into account.


Mario Cloutier Head of broker sales MANULIFE BANK

“I think it’s incumbent upon you to disclose your vaccination status to anybody you’re taking a meeting with” The news sparked a debate in the mortgage industry over whether companies and brokerages should introduce mandates for mortgage professionals to get a vaccine before returning to the office or meeting clients in person. Speaking with CMP, MPC president and CEO Paul Taylor said that companies had a responsibility to ensure that their employees were vaccinated before interacting in person with co-workers or clients. “I think if you’re an agent or broker and you’re taking client visits, you probably would want to know the vaccination status of the client,” he said. “Similarly, I think it’s incumbent upon you to disclose your vaccination status to anybody you’re taking a meeting with so that they also understand the potential risk of interaction with you.”

More options for brokers

Years in the industry 13 Fast fact Cloutier holds an MBA from the University of Quebec and a law degree from the University of Montreal

What’s new with Manulife on the mortgage side? In 2021, Manulife Bank is making a concentrated effort to highlight our full suite of mortgage solutions. We are more than the Manulife One bank. Rather than being a niche player, we introduced the Insurable Manulife Bank Select Conventional Mortgage. This means that in addition to clients choosing our all-in-one flexible mortgage solution, they also have choice of having a traditional term mortgage. Our Manulife Bank Select mortgage is a strong competitor in the industry for clients to have a choice between one of the lowest fixed or variable rates on the market and generous prepayment privileges. It also offers a free or full-service chequing account. With the new Insurable Manulife Bank Select Conventional Mortgage, we really can meet the majority of brokers’ clients’ needs. In addition to our ongoing product development, Manulife Bank created a dedicated mortgage broker sales team and has made some significant improvements in our lending policy to make it easier to work with us.

What is your value proposition in the mortgage space? With our flexible Manulife One and Manulife Bank Select mortgages, our value is focused on creating a tailored mortgage for clients’ unique needs from a lending brand they can trust. Manulife intends to be recognized as the specialists in offering strategic solutions for AAA Canadian consumers through their mortgage professional.

What are Manulife’s main priorities when it comes to customer service? We continue to strive in helping our customers, both brokers and consumers, in all cycles of their financial life with us. A mortgage is more than just a necessary means to pay for a home; it should be an integral part of the clients’ cash flow, debt management and long-term planning.

How can mortgage professionals build a strong partnership with Manulife? The first step is understanding our process and intentions to accompany our clients through every stage of life, including retirement. This long-term approach is something that needs to fit the mortgage professional’s business model – it may come as a surprise, but we do not believe we are the end-all-be-all for everyone. There has to be a fit. Once that process is completed, they can engage with one of our local coaching consultants, who specialize in helping build their pipeline and establish their efficient workflow with Manulife Bank. We have added some excellent talent to this team this year, as we understand the educational commitments when starting to deal with us can sometimes be overwhelming. We are there to support 100%, and the results are worth the effort.

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Is open banking on the way? In recent weeks, fintechs have renewed calls for the government to launch an open banking system

consumer choice, prioritizes data privacy and contributes to economic growth.” Following the release of that report, several Canadian fintechs and industry advocates called on the government to set a target of implementing an open banking system by January 2023. Advocates argue that open banking would allow smaller fintechs to compete with the big banks when it comes to services such as mortgages and other loans – particularly as open banking would make it easier for clients to switch financial institutions.

“Open banking [presents] an interesting opportunity to provide an overall better financial picture to clients”

It’s long been a deeply held dream of many financial technology firms: to see the creation of an open banking system in Canada, which would provide third-party financial service providers with access to many aspects of consumer banking. While it may still seem a distant prospect, the release of a long-delayed report on open banking by the federal government in August was viewed as an encouraging step forward for such a system. Federal Finance Minister


Chrystia Freeland indicated her receptiveness to the idea in the wake of the report’s release, noting that it was already part of many Canadians’ lives. “Many use digital services every day to manage their money, to budget for expenses and to make investments,” she said. “Working towards a regulated, made-in-Canada system will make sure that we continue to enjoy a strong, stable and innovative financial sector that is globally competitive, promotes

Citadel Mortgages integrates with MyMarble

Citadel Mortgages has entered into a licensing agreement with Marble Financial that will allow it to provide clients direct access to the MyMarble financial wellness platform. The access, via API, will be facilitated by Marble’s B2B solution, Marble Connect. Marble will receive compensation from Citadel for new customers funnelled through the API. Marble noted that the partnership “will provide Citadel Mortgages customers an overview of where they stand when it comes to mortgage approval.”

Jesse Abrams, CEO of digital mortgage brokerage Homewise, told CMP that while open banking remains something of a “pipe dream” in Canada, it offers significant potential for the mortgage industry in the future. “When open banking does become available, that’s going to be a really interesting opportunity for us – to provide an overall better financial picture to clients so that while they’re looking to buy a home, they know their options,” he says. “That’s really an area where there seems to be a big opportunity moving forward. To me, the biggest driver that’s going to be able to do that is open banking.”

North American fintech makes major acquisition

Lone Wolf Technologies, which offers digital products for an estimated 75% of all real estate transactions in Canada and the US, has acquired real estate and mortgage software company Propertybase. Propertybase is a global provider of websites, CRM and lead generation software with 250,000 users in over 80 countries. According to Lone Wolf, Propertybase’s solutions “add complementary front-office tools to Lone Wolf’s product portfolio, providing complete technology coverage from lead to listing to close.”


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Stephane Presseault Vice-president, client experience and innovation MYCLOSING

Years in the industry 25 Fast fact Presseault is a collector of surprising facts: “For example, Apple has a ‘smoking ban’ on their computers, meaning if you smoke while using any Apple computer, the warranty becomes void”

Transforming the closing process What new developments are in the works at MyClosing at the moment?

What are some of the biggest trends that will impact mortgage tech in the future?

We are working on a national rollout of our proprietary conveyancing system. This will further revolutionize the real estate closing and fulfillment experience for all stakeholders in the value chain. This will create an unprecedented experience of visibility by way of our proprietary portals that offer full transparency to the broker/Realtor, client and the lenders. Our technology offers ready-made REST APIs, which allow for easy integration to any mortgage originator or amalgamator in the country. MyClosing is bringing technology and innovation together to address the common challenges facing the ever-evolving real estate industry. We are leveraging our years of experience in legal processing, AI and machine learning, and other new evolving technologies to create a platform that simplifies the real estate transaction for everyone involved.

We believe that data and augmented analytics will help everyone learn more about their process and their clients, which will allow them to offer more targeted and efficient solutions to their customers. True AI requires a thorough understanding of the customer and broker world and their needs and requirements. With our decades of experience and knowledge, we believe we are ahead of the pack when it comes to the next disruption of the real estate ecosystem. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be the driving force behind the transformation of mortgages and their satellite industries. It will allow everyone to do more with less.

What is MyClosing’s value proposition in the mortgage space? As a real estate closing and mortgage processing utility, we are changing the entire process of how we deliver and interact with clients and brokers. We provide transparency and efficiency to all the parties involved in the real estate transaction. We believe in the importance of customer service and timely responsiveness and updates to all parties as a core value. Everyone talks about service – however, our actions speak louder than words.

US investment firm acquires Canadian startup

US-based investment management firm Angel Oak has announced plans to acquire Canadian startup Covience, which specializes in digital payment and banking platforms and behavioural analytics. Covience has been offering advisory services and banking-asa-service capabilities to the Canadian and US markets since 2019. Angel Oak said the deal “is part of a two-pronged strategy that will enhance the digital capabilities of Angel Oak in the US while expanding the company’s global presence.”

8Twelve teams up with SideDrawer

What’s your message to mortgage brokers? With MyClosing, brokers do not have to recommend a lawyer to their clients and then take a step back and hope everything goes well. Our platform keeps the broker connected and engaged on every deal and through all major milestones. This allows them to track their client’s file process every step of the way. All communication and exchanging of documents can be done entirely online. However, we still believe in the value of human interaction and are always a phone call away. Our digital experience extends to the signing of the mortgage and the closing of the transaction; this allows for convenience and flexibility for the clients and brings tremendous value to the mortgage broker, as they know their clients are well cared for.

Digital mortgage brokerage 8Twelve Mortgage has partnered with document collaboration platform SideDrawer on an API integration. The union allows SideDrawer’s users to refer their clients to 8Twelve’s mortgage brokers, as well as apply for and provide the required documents within the SideDrawer platform. The companies said the integration “eliminates the back and forth of countless emails with sensitive documents … and demonstrates the capability of SideDrawer’s API-first document collaboration platform.”

OJO Labs expands home purchase solution

In cooperation with RBC Ventures, OJO Labs is expanding its personalized home purchase solution. The OJO platform is designed to assist homebuyers and sellers across Canada in searching for properties, “with the ability to hone in on the features that matter most, enjoy personalized property insights and work directly with a dedicated OJO concierge team to connect with thoroughly vetted local agents and mortgage professionals from Royal Bank of Canada,” OJO Labs said in a statement.


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The key to easier closings The closing process is about to become radically more efficient – but in the meantime, there are steps brokers can take to streamline it, writes Jonathan Hacohen WHEN IT comes to mortgages and money, I foresee a big change coming down the tracks. Specifically, that change will involve how money is transferred between lenders and law firms. While wires have been popular for some time and have been replacing direct deposits of certified cheques and bank drafts, I expect a future system of virtual e-transfer of funds between all parties as our economy moves toward a virtual money solution. I believe that system will impact a huge number of transactions, whether between lenders and law firms, law firms between themselves, or the transfer of client funds. It’s a change that would be a welcome development in the mortgage industry – the threat of fraud is always lurking when you discuss money transfers, but a safer, almost instant system to transfer funds will revolutionize how transactions are closed. It will also prove a much more reliable process for all parties; wire transfers can be notoriously slow and delay closings in an industry where timing is everything. I look forward to the day when we all have virtual wallets, paper currency is a thing of the past, and we can transfer funds to close mortgages and real estate transactions in real time. The past 18 months have opened the eyes of many to the potential that virtual solutions can offer in creating a smoother, more harmonious process in many walks of life. The pandemic has been a time of great hardship and difficulty for many, but one of its few bright spots has been that it’s ushered in a new era in the legal profession with the rise


of virtual signings and paperless closings. That’s a trend that I believe will only continue and accelerate. Once lenders are fully on board with virtual signatures, then Zoom appointments won’t need paper signings through printers and scanners. If not for the pandemic, I can’t say how long it would have taken for the legal profession to move toward virtual signings and closings. A quicker and more efficient process is on its way in the mortgage industry. But

everything in life, when a law firm and mortgage broker have agreed upon expectations and clear communication, smooth closings will follow. Here’s an example that shows some of the misconceptions that currently exist about the lawyer’s role in closing a deal. A mortgage broker has been working hard for weeks, perhaps months, on preparing a client’s mortgage for a refinance. It has taken time to get the mortgage approved and to get documents from the client to satisfy broker conditions. The day has come, and the file with the lender is broker-approved. The law firm receives mortgage instructions from the lender – the first time the firm has heard or seen anything about the client. The broker calls the law firm 10 minutes after the mortgage instructions are received to ask, “Are we closing today?” It’s a scenario that we’ve seen many times. I would encourage the broker to step back and ponder – think about how long it took to get the refinance to the stage where the mortgage was instructed. How is it possible to close the refinance immediately? If the broker had many steps to get the mortgage

“As with everything in life, when a law firm and mortgage broker have agreed upon expectations and clear communication, smooth closings will follow” what do brokers need to keep in mind now to ensure that deals are closed as smoothly as possible? I have a great deal of experience in this matter, and for me, one of the most important things a broker should remember in dealing with a lawyer in the mortgage process is that communication is key. For a lawyer, it’s a massive help when the signed commitment is sent before the mortgage instructions are in, together with related client paperwork – for example, recent mortgage and debt statements. It’s also vital to set a realistic closing date, allowing time for the law firm to receive instructions and prepare for closing. As with

prepared, wouldn’t it make sense that the law firm also has to complete several steps to close? Virtual solutions are set to profoundly change the mortgage process. Until that happens, though, brokers can make the process as swift and stress-free as possible by understanding that law firms have numerous steps to take before they can close a deal – and making sure their clients are aware of that, too. Jonathan Hacohen is a partner at Kormans, a law firm whose work in real estate includes looking after both residential and corporate transactions.

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04/09/2021 12:22:44 am


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04/09/2021 12:22:50 am



A FRONT-ROW SEAT Radius Financial CEO Ron Swift has lived and breathed mortgages for nearly four decades – and along the way, he’s witnessed big changes in the broker channel

IT WOULD be difficult to envision a career as deeply committed to the mortgage industry as Ron Swift’s. Not only is the Radius Financial CEO one of the most recognizable figures in the Canadian mortgage space – an industry veteran who’s seen and done it all through his professional accomplishments – but he’s also invested in the industry through his affiliations with various committees and advisory groups, representing the mortgage profession with pride through every turn of his decades-long career. Swift says that dedication is born out of a strong conviction in the value that mortgage professionals bring to their clients, a view he’s held ever since getting his start as a mortgage broker in Vancouver back in 1983. “That’s why I love this business – I’ve always believed that we provide a truly valuable service to consumers,” Swift says. “Not every single person can walk into the bank and get a mortgage. And even if you could – is it really the right mortgage for you? What’s really blossomed over the last number of years is the amount of advisory roles we play now in trying to educate a consumer around the home-buying and mortgage process.” Swift’s career on the brokering side of the business lasted four years before he moved into a lending role, joining Mutual Life (the


predecessor to MCAP) as a regional manager. He’s been in the lending space since then; a five-year stint as regional manager for First Line in BC was followed by a return to Mutual – first in a regional manager role, then as head of operations and marketing for MCAP. Swift’s move to Toronto coincided with the beginning of his time as president and

competitor to brokers – we’re a mortgage lender dealing with the mortgage brokerage community from coast to coast, and that’s going to continue. As a lender that’s only been in the mortgage brokering space, this is all I’ve ever known – the brokering world from both the brokering side and the lending side. I’ve never been a retail banker, so to speak.”

“I’ve always believed that we provide a truly valuable service to consumers. Not every single person can walk into the bank and get a mortgage. And even if you could – is it really the right mortgage for you?” COO at MCAP, a role he occupied until 2011, when an opportunity to take the helm of Radius Financial came calling. As CEO of the lending giant, Swift has never lost sight of the value of mortgage brokers, describing them as one of the most important priorities in Radius Financial’s future. “Mortgage brokers are going to be our core origination channel,” he says. “We’re not looking to become an alternative or a

Evolution of the broker Indeed, even after moving over to the lending side, Swift’s dedication to the broker community never truly left him. He’s witnessed the evolution of the broker channel in Canada over time, helping steer its path as a past chair of MPC and as a member of various other committees within the association. The growth of the broker profession since

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PROFILE Name: Ron Swift Title: CEO Company: Radius Financial Based in: Toronto Years in the industry: 38 Fast fact: Swift was the first-ever Canadian to get the US designation of Certified Mortgage Banker

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the beginning of his career, Swift says, has been significant. “When I started, mortgage brokers would have comprised maybe 5% of all mortgage activity in Canada,” he says. “However, as lenders grew and some of the large national lenders started to embrace the broker models and really help the brokerage industry grow, that’s when we saw change.” Recalling how brokers used to package up deals and either drop them off at lenders’ offices in person or send a courier, Swift says the growing influence of technology in the mortgage industry has been one of the most striking developments throughout his career.

ible lender,” he says. “To be able to be whatever you need us to be as a mortgage broker is what we need to be able to do. We need to be able to have that flexibility internally so we can adapt to whatever model we need to be – whether it’s a small mom-and-pop broker or one of the large networks out there. How do we deal with each other and connect with each other going forward?”

The way forward That question is part of the ever-shifting landscape of the mortgage industry, which Swift says is what makes it such an intriguing space to be a part of – and, of course, it also

“With the technology that’s coming into play and the advances we’re making so that the mortgage process becomes simpler and smoother for customers – these are things that are going to keep us at the forefront for a long time” “If you need finance from someone in Canada, we can help you,” he says. “We can help provide you advice and choices – it’s great to see. With the technology that’s coming into play and the advances we’re making so that the mortgage process becomes simpler and smoother for customers – these are all the right steps that we’re taking and things that are going to keep us at the forefront for a long time.” Technological advancements will be critical for the mortgage industry in its interactions with customers and partners alike, Swift says, driving a more effective process for all parties. “Through technology, we can start to tailor our products to fit certain market segments and broker models, to be that flex-


brings ample reward through the satisfaction of helping Canadians make their homebuying dreams a reality. Considering those factors, Swift says he can’t wait to see what’s in store for the industry in the near future. “I can honestly say in all the years I’ve been in the industry, I’ve never been bored,” he says. “It continues to evolve and change every day. Being part of those changes has been tremendously rewarding for me – seeing how we’ve grown as an industry, how we’ve helped people over the years find homes and helped provide the financial stability that a lot of families are looking for in homeownership. I feel very proud about that – what our industry has done and how it’s evolved itself over the years.”



Starts his career as a mortgage broker in Vancouver


Moves to the lending side, joining Mutual Life as a regional manager


Joins First Line as a regional manager


Moves back to Mutual, which becomes MCAP, and is eventually promoted to president and COO


Joins Radius Financial as president and CEO


Wins the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Canadian Mortgage Awards

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04/09/2021 12:23:39 am



CMP celebrates 38 brokerages that have established themselves as the finest in the Canadian mortgage industry

CONTENTS PAGE Feature article .......................................... 22 Methodology............................................ 22 Top Brokerages 2021 .............................. 25 Profile ....................................................... 26

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EXCELLING IN A TURBULENT YEAR FOR BROKERAGES across Canada, 2020 was a year like no other in living memory. In many respects, it was a perfect storm: Just as activity in the mortgage market was heating up rapidly, the pandemic was forcing countless brokerages to radically rethink their working model as in-person interaction with both colleagues and clients effectively came to an end. That new reality presented a unique and evolving set of challenges for brokerages across the country. Companies had to deal with a dramatic uptick in mortgage volume, all while adapting swiftly to the need to operate a business and manage staff in a remote setting. What’s more, as the market continued its red-hot pace throughout the

year, many brokerages were tasked with managing growth and onboarding agents smoothly during what proved to be a relentless period for the industry. Canadian Mortgage Professional set out to find the brokerages that managed to find success against that backdrop, identifying the companies whose performance stood out during these turbulent and complex times. CMP’s 2021 Top Brokerages report is a testament to the effort and tenacity of the brokerages that rose to the challenge and produced outstanding results across the board last year – emerging as best-in-class in the industry through funded volume, number of transactions, year-over-year growth, and average funded volume per broker.


2019 2020 2021


METHODOLOGY To find this year’s Top Brokerages, CMP invited brokerages across Canada to submit details about their performance in 2019 and 2020, including total transactions and total volume funded. To be eligible, brokerages must have five or more loan writers in at least one office headquartered in Canada. The final ranking of Top Brokerages was weighted across four areas: growth in volume funded between 2019 and 2020, average volume funded per broker, total volume funded within a 12-month period, and number of transactions. Nominated brokerages were ranked in each of these areas, and these rankings were then combined to determine each brokerage’s final placement on the list.

$31 billion Total volume funded by this year’s Top Brokerages

$295 million $277 million

$16.2 million Average volume funded per broker

$375 million $642 million

74,251 $823 million

Total transactions completed by the Top Brokerages

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“You have to stay current, stay nimble, and be able to pivot so that you’re able to adapt to the fast-paced, changing market” Michelle Campbell, Mortgage District

As Canadians’ interest in the housing market rose during the pandemic – whether because of the work-from-home revolution or an inability to spend on travel and other leisure pursuits – many mortgage brokerages

witnessed a surge in volume, a fact that’s underlined by the record numbers posted by this year’s Top Brokerages. The average volume funded across the 2021 Top Brokerages skyrocketed to more

than $823 million – a significant increase over 2020’s average of $642 million. That spectacular performance cemented these companies’ status among Canada’s leading brokerages – and in the mortgage industry, there can be few more satisfying accolades.

Handling the volume surge Because 2020 was such a barnstorming year in the mortgage market, it’s hardly surprising that one of the biggest challenges identified by this year’s Top Brokerages was hiring quickly enough to keep up with the red-hot pace of the industry. The task of bringing in new staff and getting them acclimatized to the brokerage – a crucial one at the best of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd mortgages No income documents required No credit qualification required Quick closings Flexible solutions for each deal 3 month or 6 month terms available, fully open Will lend behind private lenders* *Subject to underwriting Hosper Mortgage provides fast approvals and quick closings in the alternative lending space. We lend on residential 1st, 2nd, and 3rd mortgages all across Ontario. We’re an equity based lender, with no income or credit qualifications & no hidden fees.

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6 British Columbia







1 Nova Scotia

Keeping pace with the market also proved to be a significant challenge throughout the year. Michelle Campbell, principal broker at Mortgage District, says adaptability and flexibility during busy times are key components of a successful brokerage. “You have to stay current, stay nimble and be able to pivot so that you’re able to adapt to the fast-paced, changing market,” she says. “Scheduling revisitations of best practices and going back to the basics are key.” Kirk says it’s also important for brokerages to have a clear structure in place to handle increased volume when it arises. “When service levels increase, you have to be able to delegate or have a team in place that can help you with different areas of the business,” he says. “I think as an industry, we need to be more realistic with ourselves. If you have a couple of assistants or create a smaller niche team and everybody excels at their own part, you’ll be OK.”

Turning to tech

“When service levels increase, you have to be able to delegate or have a team in place that can help you with different areas of the business” Tristan Kirk, Citadel Mortgages

times – assumed even greater importance in a frenetic mortgage market, as new hires were required to hit the ground running quickly and effectively. Tristan Kirk, CEO of Citadel Mortgages, emphasizes that it’s essential for brokerages to continue to prioritize their hiring processes and make sure they’re bringing in the right people – even when there’s an urgent need to add new staff. “Invest in your hiring process if you want to find good people,” Kirk advises. “Get


the tools and resources you need so that when you spend time with that person on the phone or Zoom, you know that they’ve checked the boxes to get there.” Len Lane, owner of Brokers For Life, notes that it can be a challenge to find experienced candidates to bring on board, so brokerages should ensure that their training is comprehensive and consistent. “Make sure that the people you have in place are well trained – and continue to train,” he says.

Technology assumed enormous importance during the pandemic; many of this year’s Top Brokerages said ensuring their digital solutions were up to speed was one of the biggest challenges of the past year. Lane stresses that it’s essential to keep the client’s preferences firmly in mind on the technology front. “Simplicity is sometimes one of the things that people look for,” he says. “[Despite] automation of systems, we’re finding kickback from clients who still want to talk to you. If you take it too far with technology, it’s not a good thing all the way around for clients to experience.” Where remote solutions are necessary, Campbell also emphasizes the importance of making sure colleagues and staff don’t become isolated. “Being creative, having some virtual social events and personal touches [is important],” she says. “Make sure every team member feels important – you have to constantly be on your toes.”

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True North Mortgage


KeyRate Corp.


VERICO The Mortgage Professionals


Elite Lending Corp.



CanWise Financial


SafeBridge Financial Group


Clear Trust Mortgages


Premiere Mortgage Centre


Bespoke Mortgage Group


7 (tie)

21 (tie)

22 (tie)

22 (tie)

Jayman Financial East Coast Mortgage Brokers iConnect Mortgages


Phone: 416-291-4555 Email: Website:

TMG The Mortgage Group


Mortgage Brokers Ottawa


Homewise Solutions


Smart Debt


The Genesis Group


VERICO Xeva Mortgage


Valko Financial


8Twelve Mortgage Corp.


Mortgage District


DLC Entrust Mortgage


Brokers For Life


Rock Capital Investments


Key Mortgage Partners


Assured Mortgage Services




15 (tie)


VERICO Superior Mortgage


Homeguard Funding


AKAL Mortgages


Citadel Mortgages


Mortgage Commitment

Neighbourhood Dominion Lending Centres




The Mortgage Coach


Concierge Mortgage Group


Lamarche Mortgage Team



Phone: 416-827-2626 Email: Website:

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04/09/2021 12:24:55 am




iCONNECT MORTGAGES Phone: 416-291-4555 Email: Website:


ard work, sweat and a lot of long hours” – that’s the formula Kajan Kunabalasingam and Varan Karunanantham needed to get iConnect Mortgages off the ground. “We put in quite a bit of time; we sacrificed a lot of family time to build this brokerage,” Kunabalasingam says. Kunabalasingam ranked in the top 1% of CIBC mortgage advisors in 2015, is a DLC Elite Hall of Famer and made CMP’s Top 75 Brokers list in 2021. Karunanantham is also a DLC Elite Hall of Famer and was a member of CMP’s Top 75 Brokers in 2020. Karunanantham has prior experience at TD and CIBC, where he ranked as the number-one sales manager nationally. Since they founded iConnect Mortgages under the DLC umbrella in 2016, Kunabalasingam and Karunanantham haven’t looked back. “We put clients’ needs first – we go the extra mile for the clients,” Kunabalasingam says. “Clients get the honest opinion, honest solution. We will make sure that it’s the best thing for the client, and every transaction will be conducted in the right way.”

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04/09/2021 12:25:04 am

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04/09/2021 12:25:09 am



An expert commercial approach Equitable Bank’s Jay Blachford outlines how the lender is bringing opportunity and success to brokers in the commercial space

FOR EQUITABLE BANK, service to the broker channel has always been a top priority. Jay Blachford, senior director of commercial originations for Equitable Bank’s Business Enterprise Solutions (BES), describes the broker network as “essential” to the lender’s success and says it’s committed to educating and encouraging brokers as they expand into commercial mortgages. To that end, Equitable Bank recently unveiled a host of new commercial products and expanded offerings aimed at providing continued support and opportunity for brokers and their clients. The company is also dedicated to steering mortgage professionals through whichever stage of the commercial mortgage process they require assistance with. Blachford, who heads up sales and strategy for BES, which focuses on commercial mortgages worth up to $5 million, says his division realized the potential for new products aimed at providing even more business opportun-


ities for brokers, beyond just amortizing commercial mortgages. “We’ve seen an opportunity in the market to provide more creative credit solutions to support our broker network and their clients,” he says. “At the front end, we really

offering between $50,000 and $250,000 as a complement to an Equitable Bank commercial mortgage. The CELOC gives property owners access to cash flow and capital when they need it, whether it’s to support their business, make renovations to their property or for any other funding needs. Equitable Bank has also introduced repositioning loans with acquisition-plusrenovation financing, offering an interestonly option and bridge loans to CMHC takeout financing.

Helping brokers take the first step That range of products should make brokers sit up and take note. Blachford points out that brokers who work on the single-family residential side have ample opportunity to expand into commercial mortgages with Equitable Bank. “We’re giving brokers another source of business,” he says. “For example, if they helped a client with their residential mortgage but then they find out that same individual owns a commercial property, they know they have a place to take that loan – and we can help them.”

“We’ve seen an opportunity in the market to provide more creative credit solutions to support our broker network and their clients” Jay Blachford, Equitable Bank focus on supporting our brokers and on how we can help them be successful. The way we do that is by making sure they have the right tools, knowledge and resources to go out and engage and win clients.” One of Equitable Bank’s most notable recent launches in the commercial space is a commercial equity line of credit (CELOC),

Getting involved in the commercial space can sometimes seem like an overwhelming prospect for residential brokers, given the common perception that commercial deals are more complicated and take more time to put together. “We have a full team of commercial real estate experts to support the broker,

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Brought to you by

educating and encouraging them so that they become more comfortable entertaining commercial transactions,” Blachford says. With that level of support and guidance, Blachford says it’s common for brokers to become increasingly involved on the commercial side with Equitable Bank after doing their first loan, particularly when they realize that commercial commissions are usually much bigger than those in residential. Blachford’s originations team is the unit that provides support to brokers on the commercial side; each member is focused

solely on commercial mortgages. The team’s expertise is an invaluable asset to brokers, particularly given the range of commercial asset classes in which Equitable Bank lends. Multi-unit residential and industrial continue to be the strongest-performing asset classes in the market, Blachford says. A rebound is also underway in the mixed-use asset class (for example, retail space downstairs with residential above) as a result of businesses reopening after the pandemic. Financing for the retail and office asset classes is also available.

As brokers get to grips with the commercial side, they can turn to the trusted advice of an Equitable Bank expert every step of the way. Brokers will have a dedicated account manager and analyst to support them through the process, with everything from originations to underwriting to funding. Brokers should also stay tuned for upcoming enhancements to Equitable Bank’s digital capabilities, which will allow it to provide an even greater level of assistance and guidance for mortgage professionals throughout each stage of the process.

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04/09/2021 1:14:01 am



Brought to you by

EQUITABLE BANK’S COMMERCIAL TEAM Jay Blachford Senior director, commercial originations 416-816-2786 Aris Athanasoulakis Senior account manager 647-600-2631 Nicolas Tarrene Account manager 647-600-7487 Daniele Antoniazzi Account manager 438-886-9878

“We support brokers all the way – we educate them, we encourage them, we demystify the notion that commercial transactions are very complex, and then we provide them with a secondary source of income” Jay Blachford, Equitable Bank A straightforward process for brokers Brokers don’t need to have prior experience with commercial mortgages or achieve any additional certifications or qualifications before diving into the commercial mortgage sphere with Equitable Bank. In fact, Blachford


says there’s opportunity for significant overlap between residential and commercial mortgages with Equitable Bank, even if a broker’s main experience and knowledge has always been on the residential side. “We work very closely with the residen-

tial business development managers, so brokers can reach out to us or connect with the single-family residential BDMs,” he says. “Experience in the field isn’t a requisite. Most of our deals come from residential brokers who have done very few commercial transactions. We support brokers all the way – we educate them, we encourage them, we demystify the notion that commercial transactions are very complex, and then we provide them with a secondary source of income.” That commitment to guiding brokers through each stage of the deal and clarifying any areas of difficulty is a reflection of one of Equitable Bank’s core priorities: a dedication to making sure its partners are as well equipped as possible to ensure success. “We win on customer service,” Blachford says. “We provide high-quality service through­out the process. We’re focused on trying to make it simpler and easier for our brokers to do business with us.”

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04/09/2021 1:14:12 am

Creative Credit Solutions to Support our Brokers and Their Clients Equitable Bank’s Commercial Equity Line of Credit (CELOC)

As Canada’s Challenger BankTM, we pride ourselves on finding creative and flexible credit solutions targeted towards Canadian small business owners and real estate investors. Our Commercial Equity Line of Credit (CELOC) provides property owners with access to cash flow when they need it, whether it be to support their small business, make renovations to their property, or for any other business needs. Here is a scenario that demonstrates how a CELOC can add value for your clients: Your client • Owns a mixed-use property in Toronto and operates their business from that location • Has limited access to liquidity which inhibits the client from expanding their business or making property improvements • Alternatively, they can access the equity in their commercial property to support their business needs • Ease of access to capital, along with flexible repayment options, is of importance Our solution • Add a CELOC of up to $250,000, with flexibility of interest-only payments • Refinance their commercial mortgage up to a total of 75% of the value of the commercial property • Provide an attractive fixed rate for up to 5 years, offering repayment predictability during the term of the loan • Qualify the loan based on business income and include additional revenue generated by the property • A commitment fee of 1% of which 0.50% is paid to the broker No matter the deal complexity, our team of trusted commercial real estate experts can help you find the right solution for your clients! Connect with one of our Commercial Account Managers today.

This scenario is for illustrative purposes only. The CELOC is offered in combination with an Equitable Bank commercial mortgage. The CELOC has a maximum credit limit of $250,000 (minimum of $50,000).

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04/09/2021 1:14:17 am



The tech revolution Homewise Solutions founder and CEO Jesse Abrams tells CMP how his brokerage is using technology and online solutions to achieve its goal of creating a better mortgage process for its customers

THE INCREASING prevalence of technology in the mortgage industry has been a common topic of discussion in recent years, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a dramatic shift to digital solutions and virtual meetings. Yet for Homewise Solutions and its founder and CEO, Jesse Abrams, technology has been a focus since day one. Abrams describes Homewise as “a tech company at [its] core,” with a cutting-edge digital approach that’s supplemented by a team of dedicated, experienced mortgage advisors and brokers. “We saw the opportunity to try to build an online version of the mortgage process that still has the human support, providing advice and consultation while enabling the speed and efficiency that the digital experience provides,” Abrams says. “Clients have a digital experience on the front end, and then they’re set up with a personal Homewise advisor – one of our internal mortgage brokers and agents – to guide them in each step.” The company’s technology has facilitated a faster, easier process for customers; features like an online client portal allow applicants to receive updates and view their status through every stage of the process. For Abrams, that transparency and openness is an essential aspect of Homewise’s value proposition, particularly given the fact that a significant percentage – around 60% to 70% – of the company’s customer base consists of


first-time homebuyers who are unlikely to have a high degree of knowledge about the mortgage process. “[Many] first-time homebuyers, unfortunately, were never taught about mortgages in high school or university,” he says. “We’re talking about the largest purchase of someone’s life, but a lot of people unfortunately search around and do more research and comparison shop more for an airline flight, a hotel or a pair of new shoes than they do for a mortgage.” Aiming to address that knowledge gap, Homewise introduced a first-time homebuyer zone on its website that features explanatory videos in accessible one- to two-minute chunks to explain the key steps of purchasing a home for those who have yet to begin that journey. Abrams says one of Homewise’s main goals is to demystify the home-buying process for those who haven’t yet entered the market – particularly since first-time buyers are often

dissuaded from trying to purchase a home because they believe it’s unachievable. “We realized that a lot of first-time homebuyers think they’ll never be able to afford a home because of all the negativity that they see in the news, online forums and other places,” Abrams says. “We find that once we take them through the pre-approval process and give them an idea of what their affordability is, they often realize that they have more opportunity to buy a home than they expected.” It might be tempting to assume that brokers and agents take a back seat to technology at Homewise. Not so, says Abrams: While Homewise is structured around providing a full, simplified mortgage experience for its clients through digital solutions, the presence of mortgage experts is an essential component of its success. “Our main goal is that when someone comes to Homewise, they never have to leave their couch to get the best mortgage, with as

HOW DOES HOMEWISE’S PROCESS WORK? After a client has answered online questions and uploaded documents, Homewise builds the client’s profile, and the company’s mortgage advisors find them the best deal across multiple banks and lenders. The client is provided with various lender options tailored to their needs and a detailed explanation of the savings available in each choice. One of the company’s mortgage experts then facilitates the deal between the client and the lender, staying on hand at every point to offer advice and clarification where required.

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“Our main goal is that when someone comes to Homewise, they never have to leave their couch to get the best mortgage” much transparency as possible – and with the ability to apply 24/7 and have access to a human advisor to guide them through each step,” Abrams says. “Technology is not coming to take the job of mortgage advisors – technology enables advisors.” Indeed, Homewise puts a strong emphasis on professional growth and development for its mortgage professionals, whose expertise is an indispensable asset to the brokerage and its clients. “One of the things that’s been a major focus is hiring great people,” Abrams says, “but also having really strong onboarding and a process to make sure that our team members feel like they have strong opportunities for growth as a business and to consistently grow in their careers as mortgage agents and brokers.”



LEADERSHIP Jesse Abrams, founder and CEO

SPECIALTY Providing mortgage solutions through a technology- and advisor-driven approach

NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS Named one of CMP’s Top Brokerages in 2020 and Top Independent Brokerages in 2021; nominated for Brokerage of the Year (Fewer Than 25 Employees), Employer of Choice and Digital Innovator of the Year at the 2021 Canadian Mortgage Awards

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In growth mode A bold approach and inventive thinking during the pandemic led to a dramatic scaling up at Alta West Capital. President and COO Jared Morrison fills CMP in on its expansion AT THE onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies had two choices: stand still and wait for the situation to blow over, or move forward and embrace the new challenges it presented. Alta West Capital chose the latter. President and COO Jared Morrison says the company recognized the opportunity to help a greater number of Canadians than ever through a new suite of products that would help them restore their finances and buy the time they required. The result has been significant growth for Alta West, with positive feedback from borrowers and brokers alike – helping expand its business and coinciding with a restructuring that’s seen both a reorganization at the top and the hiring of new staff. “The flexibility that we could offer as an alternative lender, without the constraints that some of the larger institutions have, allowed us to be quite creative throughout the pandemic,” Morrison says. “Our recent growth has been driven by our two main products, which provide solutions not available through traditional lenders: stated income and equity lending.”

Keeping brokers top of mind As part of the company’s expansion, mortgage industry veteran Chuck McKitrick was named as chairman of the board, George Botros took over as CEO, and Morrison added the title of president to his existing role as COO. Alta West also continues to place mortgage brokers front and centre in its future plans, with new business development managers arriving in two of the country’s hottest markets. Amy Chen has been


named a BDM for British Columbia and Alberta, while Justin Theriault’s appointment as BDM for Eastern Ontario signals the company’s firm commitment to Ontario brokers; he joins Western Ontario BDM Francis Lee in the province. Engagement with the lender’s four key stakeholder groups (staff, clients, brokers and investors) will be driven by Alta West’s new director of marketing, Crystal Stus, and two new underwriters and a host of additional support staff have also joined the team. Morrison says future expansion into a new office premises is also in the works. In keeping with its focus on the strong performance and prosperity of its broker

ness they do with us, and it’s just growing by leaps and bounds. It’s really something to see how many brokers are coming on board with repeat business and realizing the advantages of dealing with us.”

A clear culture The importance of culture – and having a clear idea of the company’s identity – has always been one of Alta West’s top priorities and is something that has remained a constant focus throughout the pandemic. Staff recently came together in a workshop to identify the key motivators behind their, and Alta West’s, purpose. “We dug into the foundations of what makes our company unique, asking a series of questions – What motivates you to succeed in your everyday activities? How can we improve our service offering? – unfolding and understanding the mechanics of why we do what we do,” Morrison says. “Some people said they had never been asked that before, and the staff were incredibly excited to be given the opportunity to participate in such a collaborative and inclusive initiative.” Through that session, the company found that staff ’s motivating factors included the ability to elevate stakeholders and the oppor-

“The flexibility that we could offer as an alternative lender allowed us to be quite creative throughout the pandemic” Jared Morrison, Alta West Capital community, Alta West has also introduced a new broker loyalty program, which has received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from mortgage professionals across the country. The program allows brokers to receive rewards by completing more deals: on a quarterly basis by funding a minimum of two deals in the quarter (with tiers of two to three deals, four to seven deals and eight or more deals) and on an annual basis by funding a minimum of 12 deals in the calendar year. “That’s really starting to take off,” Morrison says. “It rewards brokers on a quarterly and annual basis for the volume of busi-

tunity to be part of a company experiencing recent growth and expansion. The company’s quality reputation – one that prioritizes caring, compassion and integrity – was also a common motivator; Morrison credits the work done throughout the past 18 months with ensuring that Alta West continues to be a best-in-class employer. “We’ve done a lot of work nailing down exactly why we do what we do,” he says. “If everybody comes to the office at Alta West Capital each day knowing why we’re coming there and looking forward to doing so, then that certainly helps.”

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04/09/2021 12:29:09 am

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Adding value, not expenses Leaders from CENTUM explain why choice is so important for brokers – and why a fee-free model for marketing and tech is crucial to the network FOR CENTUM, a key element of providing the best possible value to its community of mortgage professionals is the ability to step into the shoes of agents and brokers and ask what it is they really need and how it can be created for them. It’s an approach that has led the company to focus on its marketing and technology solutions and how those can help brokers begin, develop and maintain relationships – with freedom of choice one of its most significant propositions. Central to CENTUM’s belief in freedom for its mortgage professionals is the fact that brokers are not tied to any technology or marketing fees; the network’s monthly new materials, workshops and ways to reach customers are provided at zero cost.

“Not only do we provide our network with endless marketing material, we do so without charging them a dime for it” Brendan Ryder, CENTUM That’s something the company’s director of marketing, Brendan Ryder, says is one of CENTUM’s core values. “We’re very proud of the fact that not only do we provide our network with endless marketing material, we do so without charging them a dime for it,” he says. “I think it’s interesting because when people pay for something, there’s this perception where they just assume it’s the best. However, I


encourage anyone to talk to a CENTUM member about our marketing because I truly feel our team is providing the best material and training to our agents not just at a better cost, but at literally no cost.”

Freedom to choose That belief is also reflected on the technology side. While CENTUM has its own complimentary technology product – what director

CENTUM’S APPROACH TO MARKETING Director of marketing Brendan Ryder says CENTUM’s focus is on making sure its agents and brokers have maximum visibility with their client base. “Marketing, to us, is how we can arm our agents and brokers with everything they need to make a wave in their community and get in front of the right people,” he says. “We’ve held numerous marketing panels and continue to host monthly marketing sessions where we connect and talk with our network, consistently providing them direct access to our marketing team.”

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of technology Adrian Schulz refers to as an all-in-one “business in a box” solution for mortgage brokers – it also has a preferred pricing arrangement in place with Filogix Expert Pro, demonstrating its belief that members shouldn’t be confined to using the network’s own technology. “We don’t force you into anything,” Schulz says. “We have the free complimentary package, but if you want to do your own thing and assure your complete independence indefinitely, you’re free to do that.” Schulz believes that giving brokers and agents the ability to choose the technology that best suits their business shows the company’s commitment to the individual preferences of each client.

“It’s allowing our brokers to really play ball, and we’ve seen plenty of offices double and triple the size of their social media audiences in the last year,” he says. “By giving our agents this never-ending stream of quality material, they’re able to maintain an online presence like no other, opening themselves up to all kinds of referral business when people are consuming and sharing the educational content we’ve produced for them.” The company’s marketing team develops a new campaign each month, producing up to 20 graphics for social media and providing custom captions for each post. Ryder says mortgage professionals currently operating under a paid marketing model at another network should realize the value they can get

“The technology and marketing department at CENTUM supports you and equips you to build out a client experience that’s second to none” Adrian Schulz, CENTUM “One of the things that the technology and marketing department at CENTUM does is support you and equip you to really build out a client experience that’s second to none,” he says. “The network is technology-agnostic. We support you and equip you to ensure that your experience makes you the number-one broker in your market. Obviously, technology is a part of that – but we don’t force it down your throat, and we definitely don’t charge you for it.” On the marketing front, Ryder says CENTUM is committed to something no other network is doing: offering custom marketing for everyone in its network. Brokers simply have to submit a ticket, and the network will create marketing solutions. The benefits for brokers have been clear; Ryder notes that many network members have seen spectacular growth in their online reach in recent times.

at no added cost. “We really give you everything you need to maintain a consistent online presence and connect with and educate your community,” he says. “If you’re currently paying a monthly fee for marketing advertising, ask yourself what you’re really getting for that.”

An eye on the future Schulz describes CENTUM’s approach to technology as “bleeding edge,” noting that the network’s commitment to tech freedom for brokers has set it at the forefront of a coming revolution in the mortgage space, now that open banking regulation appears to be coming down the line. Open banking would allow thirdparty financial service providers to access consumer banking information to create a more seamless experience – and CENTUM’s openness to its network members choosing

CENTUM’S APPROACH TO TECHNOLOGY According to director of technology Adrian Schulz, CENTUM’s tech approach is aimed at supporting brokers to build an unparalleled client experience that generates positive reviews and increased referral potential. “The most successful brokers in our network recognize the importance of relationships,” he says. “Relationships are not technology – but technology can be a tool, resource and support system to make a really good client experience.”

their own technology means it’s well placed to meet that change when it arrives. “Our tech-agnostic mindset really fits into what the federal government is working on – open banking regulation,” Schulz says. “They want you to be able to freely apply for credit, which means opening up the data pipes to allow brokers and lenders to tie into the bank and income data feed that enables you to get this fine-tuned experience for your client. I think we’re the network that is best equipped for what open banking in Canada will do, because we’re agnostic – and that means we’re open.” As a broker himself who joined the CENTUM network, Schulz says one of the biggest factors behind his decision was the ability to conduct his business the way he wished – with full support, but also the freedom to act without restrictive marketing fees or technology limitations. “What I love about the network is that I’m free to do as I see fit for my business, and nothing is forced upon me,” he says. “At the same time, our agents and brokers are so well equipped with a myriad of complimentary marketing options, tools and resources that are bleeding edge. The brokers who will become the best in the market and are building a business understand the value of owning their entire process and experience – and we offer that.”

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An overlooked revenue source FCT’s Kate Wybrow talks to CMP about the many opportunities refinances can open up for brokers

THE COVID-19 pandemic had numerous seismic impacts on the mortgage market – and a vast increase in refinancing was one of them. “The rock-bottom interest rates as a response to COVID-19 led to this increase for many reasons: employment concerns, renovations to support work-from-home needs, investment opportunities, steadily inflating property values and more,” says Kate Wybrow, vice-president of distribution at FCT. “Though it has cooled somewhat in recent months and may see a moderate decline into 2022 and 2023, as interest rates are expected to rise at some point, refinance business represents an undervalued source of both revenue and client service opportunity. “The refinance market will continue to be a vital sector within the residential lending environment for the foreseeable future. Now is an optimal time for brokers to look to their existing customer database and mine those refinance opportunities to keep their pipeline full.” The benefits for brokers are numerous, Wybrow says. First, refinancing is a natural boon for portfolio diversification. “While purchases are always going to be the priority and primary target market, refinances are a relatively untapped market compared to purchase business for many brokers,” Wybrow says. “As a broker, you offer personalized service and have access to a variety of lending options, including banks, mortgage finance companies, credit unions and private lenders. You can increase your revenue and


increase the lifetime value of your clients by diversifying your portfolio with a two-pronged approach that includes a healthy segment of both purchases and refinances.” Doing so can also help with client retention – something many lenders and brokers struggle with, Wybrow adds. “In lending markets that are so competitive, coupled with record transactional volumes, it’s only natural that the retention piece begins to slip,” she says. “A focus on refinance business means distinguishing yourself from other brokers by directing your attention to the ever-changing needs of your existing customer database and providing that ongoing support and service. Many homeowners are looking to refinance more frequently on a three-year basis as opposed to five years. By reaching out for a conversation well in advance of that five-year term, you can gain a huge edge and ensure you’re always top of mind.” Wybrow points out that the ease of the transaction is an added bonus. “Refinance deals are less complicated than purchase deals, offering a low-opportunity-cost additional income stream for brokers. Refinances have soft closing dates as opposed to hard dates, allowing for more flexibility on the closing side.” That flexibility is particularly important, as there are several reasons owners might want to refinance, from changing their payback timeline or rate type to leveraging their home equity.

“Understanding those goals for each refinance deal is key to offering the right solution, best-suited lender, an adaptable mortgage product and ensuring that borrower has the best possible experience with low cost to access those funds,” Wybrow says. “We always say that borrowers are refinancing for a reason, so a cost-effective closing solution becomes even more important on these types of transactions. It’s important to remember that refinancing carries fees many homeowners might not have factored into their calculations. Finding the right mortgage solution is vital to retaining business and widening your client base.” So how does FCT ensure its approach to refinancing reflects borrowers’ goals? “FCT’s Platinum Services are focused on refinance and transfer business, meaning we prioritize those deals and get them closed faster for brokers,” Wybrow says. “We take a flat-fee, all-inclusive approach to our Platinum program fees, ensuring your borrower knows exactly what to expect. Typically, our fees save the borrower around 40% as compared to alternative closing solutions. “We believe in being transparent so our customers don’t have any last-minute surprises, especially when it comes to cost and turnaround time. We also believe in open communication between all parties, so FCT is always readily engaging the lender, broker and borrower directly to ensure alignment throughout the closing process.”

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Database marketing made simple How Velocity’s newly launched Build tool helps to bring data to life VELOCITY CUSTOMERS kept reporting the same thing to the Newton Connectivity Systems team: They knew business opportunities existed in their customer database, but they needed a more efficient way to access them.

the fully functional CRM component that was added to Velocity in April, which helps brokers and agents stay connected to their clients and referral partners using a multitude of communication channels and works seamlessly with their daily submission and

“If you can sort it, we can report it. Build allows you to mine that data and suck out the content that’s most important to you” Geoff Willis, Newton Connectivity Systems “They said, ‘There’s money in those hills – we want to be able to extract the information we need,’” says Geoff Willis, president and CEO of Newton. Driven to find a solution, the team recently added Build, a new ‘pick ‘em’ reporting engine, to Velocity to address this gap. Build expands on the benefits of


operating platform. Build takes that convenience a step further by giving brokers an easy way to access their client base with any kind of requested report. For example, perhaps a broker wants to reach out to all customers who just passed their third mortgage anniversary and are in fixed-rate products at a rate of over 3%.

Instead of requiring 15 clicks, the creation of a spreadsheet and work to redo the columns, Build presents this information to the broker in four easy steps, in a meaningful and actionable format, without leaving the system they’re working in. “If you can sort it, we can report it,” Willis says. “Build allows you to mine that data and suck out the content that’s most important to you based on your needs.” Having easy access to any configuration of personalized information on clients is a significant differentiator. It’s one thing to reach out to a client and talk to them about a proposition, but it’s another to reach out and be able to talk about their specific circumstances, Willis says – the interaction is much more personal when you know the intimate details of their mortgage, their interest rate and their stage in the process. That insight will continue to grow over time as well, with the addition of data like updated credit scores and home values that can make the conversation even more specific. Another great feature of Build is that it’s very immediate, Willis says. The changes agents and brokers make from day to day – updating the status of a mortgage from in progress to approved, for example – can automatically change the nature of the communication sent to the client. Feedback from users so far has focused on the fact that Build elevates the usual marketing approach to one that can easily be personalized to each customer. It’s good to have a data-rich client base that holds unique new business opportunities, but it’s even better if that data-rich client base is already part of your daily operating platform and within easy reach. “Velocity customers feel empowered to access the data as they want it, on demand,” Willis says. “That’s the purpose of this tool – to make the data alive to them so it’s not just sitting in the database as a list of names for you to send newsletters to. It’s designed to be much more personable and much more accessible.” To learn more about Build, visit build-custom-reporting.

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A new journey MERIX’s recent acquisition gives the lender an opportunity to expand its reach while staying true to its roots

MERIX FINANCIAL founder and CEO Boris Bozic’s plan for the company is straightforward: widen its footprint in the Canadian financial landscape, ensure it creates great shareholder value and chart a long-term course for the company. To those ends, Bozic is embracing the recent acquisition of MERIX, along with the Paradigm brands, which has made MERIX part of the new number-one monoline lender in Canada. “It’s a position I relish in and am greatly anticipating – it’s energizing being a part of a much larger entity, and I’m grateful for the continued journey MERIX is embarking on,” Bozic says. “For our business, it means enhanced opportunity, which will put us in a position to offer more to our stakeholders, borrower customers and mortgage broker customers.” From a market perspective, nothing has changed. The MERIX business will remain intact, including Lendwise and NPX, and


it’s still its own entity in Filogix and other deal submission platforms. Going forward, MERIX will have access to all the investors

status. As far as a homeowner customer is concerned, MERIX is still their lender, and that will remain the case.” Importantly, the purchaser is committed to supporting the MERIX business model and its core values, including its trailer fee compensation model. They realize there’s a segment of the market that is committed to supporting a trailer fee model, Bozic says, which will help them generate more assets under administration. “They bought us because they believe in our value proposition in the industry and have no intention of disrupting the offering or changing what customers are accustomed to,” Bozic says. “Their vision is to simply grow and expand upon our current foundation.” That means nothing has changed for brokers currently earning trailer fees from MERIX, and brokers sending in new deals will still be able to earn them as well. Over the last 18 years, two other lenders paid trailers and later discontinued that offering, Bozic notes, yet brokers who supported those two mortgage providers are still receiving trailer fees today, demonstrating that the lending community will honour the contracts in place around compensation and trailer fees. But it’s worth noting that over the same period, there has been zero disruption to the payment of trailer fees at MERIX. After such a long period of uninterrupted trailer fees, broker concern should be minimal.

“[The purchaser] believes in our value proposition in the industry and have no intention of disrupting the offering or changing what customers are accustomed to” Boris Bozic, MERIX Financial and policies it had previously, as well as other investors through the new funding ecosystem. Processes have not changed, but Bozic notes that “in the mid- to longer term, they will be enhanced to ensure a greater customer experience.” Otherwise, from a client perspective, “this will be seamless and will have zero impact on their current

Overall, the acquisition provides MERIX with access to a much deeper pool of funding, which will ultimately result in better and more harmonized products and policies, Bozic says. “Nothing has changed, other than MERIX now has an increased opportunity to be bigger and better for Canadian homeowners and for mortgage brokers across Canada.”

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MERIX Financial is 100% committed to paying you Trailer Fees over the life of every mortgage you fund with us, so you can have peace of mind while enjoying your reoccurring income. With MERIX Trailer Fees, you will be paid at closing and again every year on the anniversary date of the original funded mortgage. As long as the original deal stays with MERIX, trailers will continue to be paid to you. This residual/passive income can amount to a lot over the years! Since launching in 2005, MERIX has paid out over $60 million dollars in Trailer Fees. Allow us to demonstrate the power of Trailer Fees for your business so you are well-informed of your options and prepared for whatever the future brings.


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From small changes to huge gains In a technological world in which we’re expected to be online all the time, it can be easy for productivity to drop as interruptions become the norm. Amantha Imber outlines three small adjustments that can boost your team’s performance

EVERY MINUTE of every workday, there are many managers who are inadvertently killing their teams’ productivity. They are doing this by expecting their teams to be at their beck and call, responding to instant messages or emails within a few minutes. They do this by constantly interrupting their teams – because it’s OK for managers to interrupt people, isn’t it? And they spread out numerous meetings across the course of the week, many of which are not helping anyone make progress on their most important projects. Adobe’s Consumer Email Survey, conducted across 1,000 white-collar workers, showed that we spend two and a half hours in our inbox each day. Furthermore, research published in the MIT Sloan Management Review revealed that executives spend 23 hours a week in meetings – and their subordinates are probably not that far behind. Often, when we talk about improving


productivity, common sense suggests that to achieve big gains, we need to make big changes. Yet what we know from fields such as cognitive psychology and behavioural economics is that small changes can actually lead to big leaps forward in performance. I call this microproductivity – tiny changes that can lead to huge improvements in the way we work. If you’re a manager, here are three simple microproductivity tactics you can try that will have a dramatic impact on your team’s performance.


Ask your team members to work to their chronotype

Do you know which members of your team are morning versus evening people – which ones are firing on all cylinders in the morning and which ones come to life at night? If you don’t know this information,

then you need to get to know it, because this has huge implications for performance. Around 14% of people fit into the category of ‘larks,’ the types of people who are brighteyed and bushy-tailed at 6 a.m. Another 21% are ‘owls,’ who peak in the evening. And the rest of us are ‘middle birds,’ who fall somewhere in between. Once you know where individuals sit on this scale, encourage them to structure their day based on their chronotype. Let your larks start work as early as they like – but this means letting them leave early, too. And encourage your owls to do the opposite. Larks and middle birds are best suited to doing focused and analytical work in the mornings and less cognitively intense work in the afternoons. Owls’ days should be structured in the opposite manner. On my team at Inventium, I have a couple of larks who regularly start work between 4

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a.m. and 5 a.m., when their brains are firing, and finish a bit after lunchtime. By encouraging your team to work to their individual chronotypes, you’ll boost performance significantly by aligning people’s natural clocks with work tasks.


Allocate one distraction-free hour each day

The average team starts the day in reactive mode. Emails and Slack are checked at the start of the day, which puts everyone on the back foot, playing whack-a-mole with their inbox to try to achieve the elusive ‘inbox zero’ and attempting to respond to everyone’s requests for their time. And come the end of the day, we wonder why it’s so common to think to ourselves, “What on earth did I achieve today?” If this sounds like your team, you need to help them protect at least one hour of their day when they can work proactively on their most important projects without interruption. Ideally, this should be the first hour of the day, before incoming messages start competing for their attention.

To kick things off, send out a calendar invite to your team titled “Distraction-free hour.” Block this out in everyone’s calendar for the first hour of their workday (except for owls – their hour of power should be at the end of the day). Giving people permission to stay out of their inboxes and protecting this time from meetings will allow your team to

work, the greater the productivity gains you’ll see.


Batch meetings

As a manager, you’re probably responsible for setting many of your team’s meetings. Many managers don’t give much thought to the timing of meetings.

Come the end of the day, we wonder why it’s so common to think to ourselves, “What on earth did I achieve today?” get a big chunk of deep, focused work done. You’ll see that people will use this time to make big steps forward on their projects – and, as an added bonus, this creates a much more energizing start to the day compared to getting buried in emails. After your team has mastered its hour of power, you might start to build up to 90 minutes or even two hours. The more time you set aside for focused and uninterrupted

All that often matters is that attendees are free at the allocated time. But by not considering the timing of meetings, you are unwittingly killing productivity. A series of experiments by researchers at Ohio State University showed that when people have a meeting coming up within an hour or two, they use their time much less productively. One of the studies found that when people had a meeting coming up, they got 22% less work done in the time before the meeting started than they did when they didn’t have a meeting approaching. To boost productivity, batch your team’s meetings. You might decide to set aside two or three afternoons per week that are specifically for meetings, or you might want to restrict meetings to only occurring during certain hours of the day, such as from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. By batching meetings, you will eliminate the ‘dead’ time that happens when meetings are scattered randomly throughout every workday. All three of these changes should be easy to implement, but the results that will spring from any one of them will be enormous. Dr. Amantha Imber is the founder of Inventium, a leading innovation consultancy, and the host of How I Work, a podcast about the habits and rituals of the world’s most successful innovators.


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One of the benefits Hansen has introduced for employees is a tea m workout via Zoom every Saturday morning


Number of employees Xeva provided with workout equipment


Participants still fully engaged in the fitness program after seven months

28 lbs.

Largest amount of weight lost by a Xeva employee this year

SOURCE OF STRENGTH Xeva Mortgage CEO Trevor Hansen has seen the benefits of staying in shape during the pandemic – and now he’s working to share his healthy habits with his company TREVOR HANSEN, CEO of VERICO Xeva Mortgage, attributes his mental fortitude during the pandemic to an established tradition of working out. “I noticed I was not having the same struggles as many of my friends, family and colleagues were [during the pandemic],” Hansen says. “I realized that working out, eating healthy and limiting my alcohol consumption was a major contributing factor to not seeing the same effects.” Hoping his employees would realize the same benefits, Hansen instituted a health and wellness program at Xeva. “Although it


was a big endeavour to take on, personally and financially, we truly felt it would immediately have a positive and lasting effect now and for years to come,” Hansen says. “It has undeniably brought our team closer and created a safe place for many to reach out for support and encouragement.” The program has also yielded a crucial lesson for Xeva employees – and for Hansen himself. “What I have learned most through this pursuit is that we all put limitations on ourselves and that age is just a number,” he says. “My wife, Luisa, and I started this

fitness journey approximately two years ago. I had just turned 50 and I wanted a new challenge, so I decided I would get in the best shape of my life. Thankfully, she decided to join me in the journey, and we recognized early on that we were experiencing so many positive and impactful changes in our lives. Our relationship with each other and our kids became better. Professionally, despite COVID-19, we each had the best year we’ve ever had. We had more energy, and we inspired many of our friends and family to start fitness programs of their own.”

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Together, we can empower your clients with products that secure their financial future. Classic mortgages Accelerator mortgages Equityline® Visa*

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To learn more go to ® Registered trademark of Home Trust Company. *Visa Int./Home Trust Company, licensed user of mark.

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04/09/2021 12:15:38 am

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